400 administrators, citizens, economists, experts and professionals from all over the world met at Castel Gandolfo, Rome, from January 17-20, 2019 for four days of discussion and study about urban management, networking and models of sustainability and living together. The meeting was entitled “Co-Governance – mutual responsibility in cities today.”

“Politics is the love of loves that brings together the richness of people and groups in the unity of a shared project, allowing everyone to fulfill their vocation freely” – these challenging words of Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare, resounded at the end of the conference on “Co-Governance, mutual responsibility in cities today,” which was dedicated to participatory governance of cities promoted by the New Humanity Movement, the Movement for Unity in Politics, and the Association of Cities for Fraternity, all outreach groups of the social and political engagement of the Focolare. It was the first event of its kind, and in two years’ time, it will be replicated in Brazil.

Over 400 public administrators, politicians, business people, academics and citizens from 33 countries attended the event. The event focused on participation, presented in the many forms it can take and illustrated through stories and good practice shared by over 60 experts in the areas of town planning, communications, services, economics, politics and the environment.

“We are convinced that participation is a strategic choice, the best way to live well within cities” – explained Lucia Fronza Crepaz, a former member of the Italian parliament and an educator at the “School for Social Engagement” in Trent and a member of the event’s central committee.

“Participation is not seen as replacing procedures enabling representation, but is chosen as an effective way of addressing complex problems and thus strengthening the concept of democratic delegation.”

The outcome of the event was the approval and signing of the “Pact for a New Governance” with which the participants committed themselves to engaging the interest of their own communities and public administrations. The 400 signatories to the pact committed themselves to forming three networks to bring diversity together and respond to the complexity of day-to-day realities.

These are networks of citizens: “People who live in the city while having different roles and tasks, but inspired by the same sense of responsibility”; networks of people working in particular sectors, forming groups in professional and economic spheres, the voluntary sector, faith communities, academia and universities, communications, etc.”; networks among cities themselves: “… which aim to engage citizens actively and collaboratively, first by creating platforms that are accessible to all and easy to use. They will cooperate by overcoming particular interests and prejudices that undermine trust, for trust is an indispensable foundation for building a network.

Co-Governance is organized by the New Humanity Movement, “Movement for Unity in Politics” and the “Association of Cities for Fraternity.”

Stefania Tanesini
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